In the name of saving the children of obscene language, the parents of the South Park kids go to all extremes – including censorship, mind-controlling implants, executions, and finally was on Canada. [Dir: Trey Parker/ (voices of) Trey Parker, Matt Stone, Mary Kay Bergman, 80 min/ Comedy, Animated, Musical-Dance/ Freedom of Speech, Personal Responsibility]
The makers of the South Park television series, on which this film is based, have long been in conflict with those concerned about foul language. That’s because half of what goes on in the South Park television world is an exchange of potty-mouthed insults between the characters. In the context of the show, it’s funny. In this film it’s more than half of what goes on, and it’s even funnier. The story here concerns a foulmouthed movie (much like the film itself). The South Park kids goes to see it, and pretty soon they’re all spouting obscenities, much to the shock and outrage of their parents, who react by: getting the movie banned, planting a “V-chip” into one of the kids (it shocks him whenever he utters an obscenity), arresting and executing the makers of the movie, and finally making war on Canada (where the movie came from). Unbeknownst to everyone, however, spilling Canadian blood on U.S. soil just happens to be the secret mystical key to releasing and empowering the devil and his ally, Saddam Hussein. Once in power, there’s only one thing that can stop these forces of evil, and that, as it turns out, it’s a foulmouthed little kid. From beginning to end this film is a rebellion. It’s a rebellion against governmental constraints on artistic freedom. It’s a rebellion against the Motion Picture Association of America rating system (G, PG, R, ect.). And above all it’s a rebellion against the whole idea that people should constantly be looking for someone else to blame for their own and their children’s behavior. What’s the alternative? Personal responsibility! That answer is explicitly given near the end of the film when one of the characters tells his mother that, rather than pursue a multitude of political causes in his name, she should deal with him directly and hold him responsible for his own actions. That’s music to libertarian ears to be sure. Those familiar with the South Park television series will get the most out of this film, but that’s not a prerequisite for enjoying it. It has a lot of comedic depth. And it’s crammed with great South Park songs. It’s as much musical as animated comedy. It should be noted, however, that’s this film is indeed offensive on many levels. According to one count, it contains 399 profane words, 128 offensive gestures, and 221 acts of violence. No wonder that in the first fifteen minutes of watching it I saw several people leave the theater in disgust. But those who stayed laughed their asses off. Sorry, must be the film.
This article was reprinted from Jon Osborne's Miss Liberty's Guide to Film and Video: Movies for the Libertarian Millenium, available in the Advocates Liberty Store.